The all-new, clean-sheet Gulfstream G500 successfully completed its first flight from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, the global headquarters of Gulfstream on May 18th. It is the first of two jets to begin flight tests, and is part of Gulfstream’s new family of large-cabin, long-range aircraft that also includes the clean-sheet G600.
The test flight took just over 2 hours, where the aircraft reached 15,000 ft, from its 51,000 ft ceiling. The new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA engines propelled the aircraft to 194 knots, from a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925 (611.86 knots).
“The successful first flight of N500GA represents the tremendous investments we have made in the G500 program,” said Dan Nale, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “We have achieved this milestone thanks to Gulfstream’s world-class research and development teams and our commitment to setting new standards for business aviation.”
The G500, along with the big brother the G600, have been in development since 2008. Over 34,000 hours of testing have gone into the new Gulfstream labs, which include a full flight deck integration test facility to evaluate major avionic and aircraft systems and software, a systems integration bench to meld the avionics and aircraft systems with the G500’s Data Concentration Network, and a Conceptual Advanced Simulation Environment to develop fly-by-wire control laws and perform human factors evaluations.
Up front, the pilots have the all-new Symmetry Flight Deck, with active control sidesticks, integrated touchscreen controllers, next-generation enhanced vision system, and Honeywell Primus Epic avionics.
The flight-test program consists of five aircraft, including a fully outfitted production aircraft that will allow the company to test all the interior elements and complete integration of the aircraft systems with the passenger experience.
When the G500 enters service in 2018, it can take a maximum of 19 passengers up to 5,000 nautical miles in fresh air comfort, as the wide cabin features a cabin altitude of 4,850 ft at FL510 and 100 percent fresh air, to boost passengers mental alertness whilst reducing fatigue.
See our Gulfstream G500 Photo Gallery.